My wife, who is a real writer, unlike me, journals every day. She likes to sit at the kitchen table in the morning with a warm cup of coffee and write. Nicholas and I will often notice her writing or typing away on her laptop as we go about our daily tasks, and we’ve grown accustomed to seeing her write. We often talk about what she is writing about with her and offer our own suggestions and ideas.
It is important for our kids to see us write. If we make it a point to write where they can see, they will learn that writing is a valuable skill and valuable use of time. In addition, writing in front of our kids opens those doors for discussion like I mentioned above. Through discussion, our kids can take ownership of these values that we are communicating and can internalize those values.
Life is often very busy and it can be hard to make time to write. The first step in teaching our kids to value writing is to make the conscious decision to write and then to do it. It starts with an act of our will; by making the resolve to write, we’re making a conscious effort to think through how we can fit writing into our schedule.
Simply resolving to write or to just write when you think about it is not enough. We need to actively work to fit writing into our busy schedules — and the best way to do that is to develop a routine. Of course, creating a routine requires experimenting to see what will work best for you: maybe writing in the mornings as everyone is getting ready to face the day won’t work for you and your family — perhaps writing in the evenings after supper might work better. The important thing is to develop a routine … and then see how it works. Success isn’t the activity, it is the communication of value.
Writing is important, and what better way to communicate that truth to your children than to model writing for them? You don’t have to be a great writer — you don’t even have to share your writing with your children — but by taking the time to write, you’re showing your kids that writing is a valuable skill. We have busy, hectic lives, but making time to write is a crucial activity that we cannot afford to skip — both for our children’s sake and for our own.
Part three of a four part series on writing.